In a move that’s been met with a few mixed reactions, Twitter has changed the favoriting function to likes; also swapping out the star icon for a red heart. This means, among the options to reply or retweet,you’re now presented with the ability to “like” a particular tweet. Much like favorites, the number of this saved log of tweets still appears directly to the right of the amount of followers you have, when viewing a Twitter profile page; only now with the heading “Likes”.
As Twitter aligns itself with the sharing and saving methods of other platforms like Facebook and Instagram, will we see a change across all platforms to have the exact same button options? Twitter has already been using hearts & likes on Periscope and Vine, and hopes to make at least all their affiliated apps succinct in that way by “making them the common language for our global community.”
The function of favorites has not always been clear, and many users skip the function altogether. In the early days of Twitter, it was used sparingly to denote a tweet that really was a favorite – perhaps a tweet they would go back to at a later date for re-sharing. Users who frequently make use of it do so for archiving long strings of tweets, bookmarking a link to view later, acknowledgement in cases they don’t necessarily need to reply or retweet.
Some Twitter apps still show the favorite option, such as Tweetlogix, as the update has mainly affected Twitter’s official apps & the site’s desktop version. Twitter’s goal with the new like function a to create a more “rewarding experience” for users, feeling as though the new function shows a deep appreciation, congratulations, and is all around more expressive statement of approval whereas favorites have typically been a bit more ambiguous.
For those who just can’t let go, Google Chrome has released an extension called “Fav Forever” that allows users to continue to favorite tweets and see stars instead of the heart icon. Within the “interactions” tab however, a similar action from another user to one of your tweets will still appear as it being “liked”
As quickly as today’s digital world changes, these are small tweaks to a constantly moving entity, so this change is the least of our worries and should be embraced with open arms. This shift could actually bode extremely well for brands who can now combine “likes” across a variety of platforms to get a better understanding of the reach a particular post has. There are now a whole host of other tools to archive, save and link tweets for later use, so while favorites were a function as vague as it was necessary, likes are a very direct and positive response to a piece of content.